The NHL Playoffs are here! The 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs are already underway, but the North Division will start their postseason on Wednesday.
This year is a bit different with four teams from each division making the playoffs. The teams only played their divisional opponents during the regular season, giving us a good read on the matchups. The winners of the divisional tournaments, so to speak, will advance to the final four.
Make sure to bookmark our NHL Picks page for picks for every game this postseason!
As always, odds are via PointsBet.
NHL Playoffs Predictions: North Division
#1 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. #4 Montreal Canadiens
NHL Playoffs Series Schedule
Thursday, May 20, 7:30 p.m.: Canadiens at Maple Leafs | NHLN, SN, CBC, TVAS
Saturday, May 22, 7 p.m.: Canadiens at Maple Leafs | CNBC, SN, CBC, TVAS
Monday, May 24, 7 p.m.: Maple Leafs at Canadiens | SN, CBC, TVAS
Tuesday, May 25, TBD: Maple Leafs at Canadiens | TBD
*Thursday, May 27, TBD: Canadiens at Maple Leafs | TBD
*Saturday, May 29, TBD: Maple Leafs at Canadiens | TBD
*Monday, May 31, TBD: Canadiens at Maple Leafs | TBD
Regular-Season Series Summary
The Maple Leafs were all over the Canadiens in their 10 matchups this season. Toronto went 7-2-1 and outscored Montreal 34-25.
The important thing to look at here is the six games these two teams played in April and May. The Maple Leafs went 4-1-1 in those six games, including 5-2 and 3-2 wins in May.
The Leafs went 4-1-0 in five games in Toronto, which looms large as they have home-ice advantage as the No. 1 seed.
Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens Prediction
The Maple Leafs went 7-0-1 in their last eight meaningful games of the season before losing two after clinching the top seed. They were one of the top teams in the league this season overall. They tied with the Penguins and Capitals for the firth-most points in the NHL (77 in 56 games).
The Canadiens, on the other hand, lost their last five games of the season and went 8-13-2 from April 3rd onward. They backed into the playoffs. Montreal had the worst record in the regular season among all playoff teams at 24-21-11.
The Maple Leafs have been known to choke in the playoffs, but I don’t see that happening here. Unless Carey Price goes into a time machine, Toronto should take this one. Montreal stunned the Penguins and gave the Flyers a scare last season, but the Maple Leafs are a completely different animal.
Toronto to advance at -300 is the bet, with the -1.5 games at -140 being enticing as well. Montreal won three of 10 meetings this season. I don’t know if they’ll win more than two here.
Maple Leafs vs. Canadiens Bet: Toronto to advance -300
#2 Edmonton Oilers vs. #3 Winnipeg Jets
NHL Playoffs Series Schedule
Wednesday, May 19, 9 p.m.: Jets at Oilers | NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVAS
Friday, May 21, 9 p.m.: Jets at Oilers | NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVAS
Sunday, May 23, 7:30 p.m.: Oilers at Jets | NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVAS
Monday, May 24, 9:45 p.m.: Oilers at Jets | SN, CBC, TVAS
*Wednesday, May 26, TBD: Jets at Oilers | TBD
*Friday, May 28, TBD: Oilers at Jets | TBD
*Sunday, May 30, TBD: Jets at Oilers | TBD
Regular-Season Series Summary:
The Oilers had troubles this season against the other playoff teams in the North, but not against the Jets. Edmonton went 7-2-0 against Winnipeg and outscored them 34-22.
Both of the Jets’ wins against the Oilers came within the first 20 games of the season. Winnipeg won at home, 6-4, on January 26th after the Oilers beat them two nights prior. Then, the Jets won 6-5 in Edmonton on February 15th, but the Oilers beat them two nights later.
Since the midpoint of the season, the Oilers beat the Jets 2-1 and 4-2 at home in the middle of March, then 3-0, 6-1, and 3-1 in Winnipeg in April.
Connor McDavid had one of the best regular seasons ever for an NHL player, and he was at his best against the Jets. McDavid had 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in nine games. He also had 22 points against Vancouver, but that was in 10 games.
Oilers vs. Jets Prediction
This line on this series is very confusing to me. Based on the regular-season series, the Oilers should be heavy favorites.
On top of that, the Oilers ran pretty hot to end the regular season. They won six of eight, eight of 11, 10 of 14, and 12 of 17. They went 17-6-2 from March 17th onward.
While the Oilers were doing that, the Jets ran cold. They won their final two games of the season and three of their last five, but lost seven straight prior to that. They went just 8-11-1 from March 31st onward.
The Jets have the better goalie, but that’s about it. They’re also dealing with a few injuries. Nikolaj Ehlers missed the end of the regular season and a few depth pieces in Andrew Copp and Tucker Poolman are banged up as well.
The Oilers should run all over the Jets in this one. I’m locking in the Oilers at -175, which I think is great value, and placing a smaller bet on -1.5 games (+110) as well for the Oilers to win in six games or less.